Pruett parades to pole at Daytona

Pruett parades to pole at Daytona

Scott Pruett began his quest for a second consecutive Grand American Rolex Sports Car Daytona Prototype championship the same way he started last season: on pole position for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Scott Pruett. Photo by Eric ...

Scott Pruett began his quest for a second consecutive Grand American Rolex Sports Car Daytona Prototype championship the same way he started last season: on pole position for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Scott Pruett.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
Driving his #01 CompUSA Lexus/Riley in the 15-minute time trial to set the grid for this 43rd mid-winter twice around the clock classic Pruett bettered the driver who appears to be his regular nemesis: Max Angelelli in the #10 SunTrust Pontiac/Riley. Pruett's lap of 1:46.928 was fractionally better than Angelelli's 1:46.945 tour of the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road circuit.

Earning his third straight pole position at DIS with just a few seconds left in qualifying Pruett provided "a boost for the whole team. They did a lot of work over the winter and right now we're really focused.

This year Scott is paired with two drivers new to the discipline of racing in the Rolex 24: Luis Diaz, who drove in 11 of 12 Grand Am DP events last year in the #02 CompUSA Lexus/Riley and Ryan Briscoe, who steers one of team co-owner Chip Ganassi's three Indy Racing League IndyCar Series Panoz/Toyota entries.

"Ryan's never been in a race longer than three hours," Pruett advised, "but he's real sharp and real smart. Luis did a terrific job last year and knows a lot about these cars. But," the veteran noted, "the Rolex 24 is the toughest race in the world to win."

In edging Angelelli, Pruett claimed his eighth Grand Am DP pole in a row. The disappointed Italian knew he "needed one lap to make it. This team has been together for a long time and we work together very well." And if his luck is a bit better than it was in 2004, perhaps Angelelli, teammate and team owner Wayne Taylor together with Emmanuel Collard will be able to see the checkered flags come Sunday.

Pruett is part of a three car team flying the banner of Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Rolex 24 attack by two other entries that consist of the #02 New Century Mortgage Lexus/Riley for Stefan Johansson, Cort Wagner and Jamie McMurray and the #03 Target Lexus/Riley driven by Irl teammates Scott Dixon, Darren Manning and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standout Casey Mears.

In the GT category pole position came to a rookie at Daytona, as 29-year- old 2004 Porsche Supercup champion Wolf Henzler earned the top slot of 35 entries in his #71 Farnbacher Racing USA Porsche GT3 with a lap of 1:55.958.

"It is my first time to be here," the German said after qualifying was complete. Although he had been at Daytona for testing, "it is a difficult track. I have never driven in a race with prototypes," so the novice will get a good opportunity to use the mirrors on his Porsche car which he called, "similar to the Supercup" mount Henzler normally drives.

Behind the front row starters, Max Papis brought the #66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac/Riley to third place, followed by Johansson in the #02 New Century Mortgage Lexus/Riley. Dixon placed the #03 Lexus/Riley fifth, while Andy Wallace's #20 CITGO Pontiac/Crawford earned sixth starting slot.

Seventh goes to Jan Magnussen in the #44 Pontiac/Doran from Doran Racing; Butch Leitzinger in the #4 Pontiac/Crawford from Howard/Boss Motorsports earned eighth, Marc Goosens took Orbit Racing's #39 Pontiac/Riley to ninth and the #77 Lexus/Doran of Fabrizio Gollin earned the tenth starting slot for Doran Racing.

In all Daytona Prototypes filled the top 25 starting positions for Sunday's race.

The top thirty slots were set in today's qualifying with the balance to be determined in final qualifying late tomorrow morning. Night practice is set for this evening between 6-8PM following Grand -Am Cup ST and GS qualifying.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Darren Manning , Fabrizio Gollin , Stefan Johansson , Jan Magnussen , Butch Leitzinger , Casey Mears , Max Papis , Scott Pruett , Emmanuel Collard , Wayne Taylor , Jamie McMurray , Luis Diaz , Max Angelelli , Ryan Briscoe , Chip Ganassi , Eric Gilbert , Wolf Henzler , Felix Sabates , Cort Wagner
Teams Krohn Racing , Doran Racing